Buying or Selling a Home/purchase price


How much does a history of sewer backups lower the purchase price on a house?
The residence I am interested in has had 2 significant sewer backups from a city sewer line over a 6 year period.  Some clean up and repair has been done, but that is no guarantee all issues are resolved.  Roughly how much should I lower my purchase price offer due to this?

Hey, Mark.

I wish real estate buying and selling was as simple as deducting a certain amount for a certain problem. Unfortunately, it's not.

The thing to do is to find out if insurability is affected and, if so, how much the premium is going to be. Claims against home insurance policies show up in two national databases: Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) and the Automated Property Loss Underwriting System (A-PLUS).

Unfortunately, information in the databases is not available to you, only to insurance companies and the homeowner via an insurance company.

Tell the homeowner that you want to see a previous claims list before you buy. They will have to request the list from their insurance agent and then provide it to you. Since you already know that there have been problems, you want to know how many and at what frequency. You don't want the homeowner downplaying the problem in order to make the sale.

If there are too many claims on the home, or expensive claims, you may find that the home you are buying is uninsurable.

You might also call an appraiser and ask if a history of sewer backups affects the appraisal value of the home. If it does (but I suspect it doesn't), then you'll have your answer about how much to lower the purchase price on the home.

Hope that helps. Good luck, Mark.


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Russel Ray


Through home inspections, I provide an education about real estate. I'm one of those rare home inspectors who has been involved in real estate in many different capacities: as a Realtor (in Texas), as a property investor/flipper, as a teacher, and as a marketing expert (for Realtors and home inspectors). I believe that my experience as a Realtor and property investor provides me with a different viewpoint about home inspections in that I work for my Clients, but when there are other people involved in helping my Clients, then I firmly believe in helping them, too. That includes Realtors (both the seller's and the buyer's), repair professionals (e.g., plumbers, electricians, etc.). If I can get all the players (seller, seller's Realtor, buyer, buyer's Realtor, and repair professionals) playing in the same sandbox together to accomplish goals as a TEAM (Together Everyone Accomplishes More), then I believe I have succeeded in my job as a home inspector. My profession is, in my opinion, much more than simply documenting the condition of a property and then take the money and run. I am also a rare breed in that I don't believe that one inspection fits the needs of all Clients, and I have led the industry in understanding that fact. For example, the goals of a property investor are far different than the goals of someone buying a property to live in. The goals of a seller (a pre-listing inspection) are far different than the goals of a buyer (a pre-purchase inspection). To that end, I offer 14 different types of inspections, e.g., STANDARD, LIST, RENTER, BASIC, MAINTENANCE, SPOT, and more. I believe in giving the benefit of the doubt to all professionals in whatever industry they represent until they prove me wrong.


Over 42 years in all aspects of real estate--building homes, renovating homes, inspecting homes, Realtor.

National Association of Certified Home Inspector, Better Business Bureau of San Diego

Graduate of Texas A&M University; College Station, Texas

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